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Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation Hardcover – November 15, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This book opens with an engaging survey of the history of photography, including information on how to identify and date ambrotypes, dry plates, and other processes. The book also includes an extensive discussion of trick photography (e.g., douple exposures), UFO photos, and photographing the paranormal. In addition, there is a chapter on the practical applications of investigative photography, including evidence and legal concerns. Nickell takes a unique approach to the history and various uses of photography and its ability to deceive and inform. Written in a clear, lively style, this book makes for fascinating reading and will be of keen interest to photography enthusiasts. Reasonably priced, especially given the scope, this book should be considered an essential acquisition for public and academic libraries-Raymond Bial, Parkland Coll. Lib., Champaign, Ill.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Written in a clear, lively style, this book makes for fascinating reading and will be of keen interest to photography enthusiasts." -- Library Journal



"The scope of this text is wide enough to accommodate a variety of photographic investigators.... The use of case studies from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries bolsters the relevance of this handbook, which is a valuable tool for solving photographic mysteries." -- National Genealogical Society Quarterly



"Explains techniques in detecting fake photographs or copies and ways of restoring deteriorating images." -- Manchester (KY) Enterprise

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; First Edition edition (November 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813118948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813118949
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
_Camera Clues_ is an excellent reference for gleening clues from photographs and for serving as a basis for continued library-research into the multitude of topics covered. This book is an excellent launch pad from which to delve into the history of 19th century photography in general; some history of photographic equipment; some history of photographic technique; the interactions between general history/context and photography; as well as the more modern topics of trick photography, faked photographs, photographs used as legal evidence, and special effects. Even more important than the excellent summarization of information in this book is the extensive bibilography, as this book is written with full college-level expository-writing endnotes.
I have been restoring and copying my family's 19th-century photographs. Starting out from a basic exposure to 19th-century photographs on paper, glass plates, and metal plates, I learned much about the history of 19th-century photography from this book which is otherwise lost knowledge to the common person in this (almost-)21st-century world. I am actively using the bibliography for further investigations into focused topics.
If there were ever another edition, I would suggest more, more, more of the same, pulling in more history, more explanation of various discarded photographic technologies (e.g., carbrotypes, Lambertypes and the restrictive licensing of their patents), more context, more techniques of tracking down negatives from photography studios of old, etc. I find that there are 2 separate audiences for this book: 1) historical photograph detectives for geneological/etc work after the death of subjects in the photographs and 2) modern trick photography for establishing truthfulness, such as for a legal case.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nickell is a well-known rationalist and author of exposes of fraudulent "supernatural" phenomena. Here the focus, as it were, is on photographs as objects representing reality, or attempts to manipulate the same. Our first steps are examining techniques of photography, particularly early photographic processes. Following that is an examination of faking techniques and common-sense guidance for assessing photographic evidence.

The book is old now, pre-photoshop and pre-digital cameras, and could use an update on those topics. It's also only available new as an expensive, presumably, print-on-demand edition. Get it used.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a treet! I first saw this book in an article and decided I really need it. How right I was! It is filled with unbelievable information--much of which I had no idea I really needed or wanted to know!!!! This and the other photography books I have chosen will definitely make me a better photographer and historian. If you have a chance, order yourself this book!
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Format: Hardcover
Since one of my books is cited two or three times by Nickell, I may be considered biased. But "Camera Clues" is a good training ground for would-be investigators who want to learn how to study evidence before formulating hypothesis.

Nickell is rational, honest and uninterested in the sensational exploitation of celebrated crime photography. He also understands and delivers a fundamental truth: Every good photo analyst knows what he or she measures rather than what they see. In investigating the Kennedy assassination in particular, most so-called experts seem to have forgotten this sage truth.

Finally, it's a pleasure to have someone call my book "sensible." Hell hath no fury like conspiracy addicts scorned, and "sensible" is quite a change from some of the other names I've been called over the last decade and a half. Thanks, Joe.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
the information in this book is timeless...it gives a historical perspective of the photographic process, it's uses & abuses...while the information at first look may appear dated, it is not!...it is simply a foundation from which to start...if after reading this book, the reader wishes to apply these concepts to digital imagery, then they would be best served by investigating "The 123 of Digital Imaging Interactive Learning Suite" by Vincent Bockaert...a combination of this sort & magnitude would then be wholly contemporary and complete...jo'c
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